Yesterday’s report from the BBC that an almost doubling of the amount of people working beyond retirement age over the last 10 years is enormously positive – more so for Somerset, which has one of the country’s fastest growing retirement communities, with an annual growth rate of 2.4% in the 64 – 75 age bracket, compared to a national average of 1.4%.
With the largest demographic group in our county being the 45-55 year old bracket, our retirement community will only continue to grow over the next decade, and the skills loss the region could feel once those baby boomers exit the work place could be drastic. So it makes for welcome reporting that a far greater proportion of those workers will continue to work into their 70’s and beyond.
Reporting suggests that the number of people aged 75 or over in Somerset will double by 2041. How the county reacts to this remains to be seen, but the pressure is certainly already felt across the social care system.
With the BBC this week releasing a 2 part Panorama documentary on the incredibly hard working Social Health Care system in Somerset, and the pressures on the county to make sustainably costed and staffed healthcare systems available to an increasing retirement community, working beyond retirement will be a vital soft-power tool the county can work with to keep elderly people fit, energised, economically independent and a vital tool to train and develop the next generation.
The county has an overall net inflow of people moving into the county to work and live, and Somerset continues to be a draw for businesses, families, retiring workers and more. However, there was one demographic group that showed a net drain – the 18 – 24 year old bracket. For all the career, family and retirement possibilities the county represents, it still isn’t considered a suitable place to enter the work force for young workers in the main.
There are plenty of reasons for this, and most have been discussed at length already – the lack of a major city with all of the cultural and working benefits that come with vibrant city centres, major universities and a driven and creative young working population (Somerset’s entire population is only marginally greater than Bristol City’s), and despite the enormous infrastructural projects in the county pulling money and specialist trade into the area, the vast proportion of businesses in Somerset are SME’s (90%): the attractiveness of the county to young workers, either culturally, business wise or development wise, is decidedly lacking and does need to improve to be on par with older generations.
Somerset is on the cusp of breaking into a new future – one that retains youthful skill, and reaps the rewards of a elderly working population – and businesses should do their best to be attractive working propositions to all demographics.
Recruitment companies are doing their part, are you?